Ken Griner Chiefland, Florida – Usher Farm and Usher Land & Timber, Inc.
Ken and Lynetta Usher Griner and their son, Korey, are the “ranchers’ associated with the Usher family businesses – Usher Farm and Usher Land & Timber, Inc.
Korey’s maternal great great great great grandfather, Samuel Mills Clyatt, arrived in Florida in 1846, with a large herd of cattle. He swam the cattle across the Suwannee River at Fanning Springs, Florida to a location in Levy County. Those early pioneers made a semi-permanent camp at a waterhole named the “Clyatt Fish Hole,” which is located on Usher Farm.
Korey’s maternal great great grandfather continued the family ranching tradition. “In his day, when their cattle were ready for market, they drove them from Levy County to Tampa on horseback. It took 10 to 12 men an entire week to get there,” Ken explains.
In the early 1900’s Korey’s paternal great grandfather arrived from South Carolina and began a turpentine business in North Florida. E.T. “Etter” Usher, Jr, Korey’s paternal grandfather started a logging business in the late 1940’s. After his marriage to Helen Hiers in 1953, while operating their timber business, they began buying land to build a “farm” and run cows on.
Ken and Lynetta became involved in the business in 1989, and have expanded it greatly. Lynetta says that Ken loves being a cowboy, and has an unmatched passion for ranching and his cows. It is no wonder that he focuses a great deal of his time on that side of the Usher businesses. With help from Korey, Ken has built a cow-calf program, a stocker program, and a seed stock program at Usher Farm. These programs utilize about 6000 acres of pasture and timberland in Florida. The family also has a tree farm, and practices traditional farming to raise their cattle feed.
Ken pays close attention to the particular genetics of the cows the ranch keeps, the heifers that are retained, the bulls that are purchased, how they are deployed within the herd, and in the use of Artificial Insemination (AI). This is important to producing cattle that are healthy and thrive better in the Florida environment.
Taking care of the land and Florida’s precious resources is a shared family value. They have placed 2000 acres in a conservation easement to preserve it in its natural state. In addition, in 2013 Usher Farm was honored as a CARES operation in recognition of its environmental efforts and stewardship of natural resources (County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship). The Florida Audubon with its Sustainable Forestry Award recognized their timberlands. Usher Land and Timber has received a great deal of recognition for its use of best management practices over the years. In 2003 it was selected as National Logger of the Year.
Lynetta serves as a Trustee of the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and was named Woman of the Year in Agriculture for the State of Florida by Adam Putnam in 2013. She currently serves as the Agricultural Appointee to the Florida Acquisition & Restoration Council. Ken serves on the Forestry Advisory Committee of Florida Farm Bureau, and on the Executive Board of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association.
Ken lives by the creed “make it happen.” He also manages to slow down every once and a while. His favorite thing about working on a ranch is “being on a horse, working as the sun comes up with my son and other family and friends. Seeing the beauty all around me.” Like father, like son. Korey loves riding with his dad just before the sun goes down, and that “feeling of satisfaction you get after a full day of ranching.”